Boys Toys and Girls Toys

Updated on December 05, 2012
I.X. asks from San Clemente, CA
17 answers

so today an old classmate of mine posted an interesting FB diagram. See below. Of course it was her soap box comments that went along with it that were most irritating but I'll spare you. Love to know your reaction to it. As for me, I thought we'd come full circle on this subject. Since I didn't know the sex of my babies before their birth, they started out with a lot of general neutral clothes, room decor,and toys. When my daughter showed little interest in dolls, I bought her a truck after I saw her show some interest in one at the park. But alas it collected dust. Now both my daughters seem to love dolls, princess dress up, and anything pink.
Who is with me that the higher learning institutes from which these ideas are flowing need a curriculum update?

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So What Happened?

My last statement would have seemed cryptic if you didn't know that the underlying philosophy that drives people to be so uppedy about not having gender specific toys is the belief that gender is a social construct and there are no real differences between male and female (an idea that is propagated in higher education). They teach that girls playing with dolls and boys with trains and trucks is all conditioning vs. natural inclination. While I'm not defending a rigid toy segregation, I am saying, I didn't encourage my daughters to pretend to be princess or prefer dolls over trains- it happened organically. And FYI my girls love Thomas Trains and thats just fine with me. but they are girly girls to the core.

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answers from San Francisco on

What Jo said.

My daughters have always liked a variety of toys, from matchbox cars to Barbies. I mean, whatever they want to play with, as long as it's not a loaded gun or a book of matches, is a-okay with me.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Get them whatever they want. I'm actually kind of irritated at Hello Kitty because they have cartoons with boy characters, and fairy tale cartoons, but all of the stuff I see at the store is pink, pink, pink. There were none of the boy hello kitty stuff. Very annoying.

Here's the William wants a doll vid:

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

Here is my thing with gender and toys, adults should have no part in it! If your kid asks for something that is in your budget, buy the freaking toy your kid wants!!

I get just as disgusted with the parents that push the opposite gender toys on their kids just as much as the ones that push gender specific. There is nothing more pathetic than a girl wanting a Barbie while she plays with her Legos except a girl playing with her Barbie who really wants some Legos!

What I mean is parents shouldn't be pushing their agendas on their kids.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I think pushing gender stereotypes onto our children damages them in the end. Let kids be who they are and like what they want without us telling them that this is ok but this other thing is not when it comes to toys. Some boys like pink, some girls like dirt, get over it.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

LOVE that graphic - I just shared it on FB.

Now - there is nothing biologically determined about pink and your girl loving it. 100 years ago pink was a 'boy' color (dilute red, way too strong for girls) and (baby) blue was the girl color (blue was seen as a 'weaker' color than red). Purple was reserved for royalty and later boys. Girls favoring pink and purple is completely a societal expectation.

In the 1970s, Lego was a gender neutral toy - the company advertised it with both boys and girls in the media and (oddly enough) parents bought it for both their sons and daughters. More recently, Lego gave up on the girls and aggressively marketed to boys only. And (oddly enough), parents stopped (for the most part) buying their daughters lego and girls (for the most part) stopped playing with it. And the recent 'girly' Lego is the most pathetic stereotyped toy in recent memory - so no this does not make up for anything.

Whoever decided that kitchens and restaurants are girl toys must be rather confused. The VAST majority of professional kitchens are run by men.

I do not understand your comment about 'higher learning institutes' at all.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think the diagram is a joke for adults and has nothing to do with purchasing toys for children.

Later: To what higher learning institutes are you referring and what ideas are they teaching? For years the experts (higher learning institutes) have been saying that toys should not be only gender specific. Give your child what they enjoy playing with. I'm confused by your statement.

I suggest anyone who is giving only gender specific toys to children in either direction is very far behind the times. This battle has been fought and for the most part won within child development institutional circles. There are still holdouts but I suggest that they're in the minority.

Also, it's OK to give boys and girls gender specific toys if that is what they're interested in. We also don't have to try to influence their choices by giving them the opposite. I suggest that it's OK for parents to do what they're most comfortable in doing.

Again, I'm not sure what point you're making with the last sentence.

Re: Hello Kitty. I gave my grandson a blue Hello Kitty wallet when he asked for it. I was surprised to see several blue Hello Kitty things.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My 5 year old daughter has told people that there are no girl toys or boy toys, only toys. She loves Darth Vader and My Little Pony. Her birthday cake last year had My Little Pony and Wolverine. If Magneto wants to come to the MLP Royal Wedding, or she wants to dig in the backyard with her dump truck, that's fine. Her boy cousins are just as happy to play with her ponies as they are her Transformers. I'm fully of the opinion that boys and girls can play with whatever they want. Personally, I didn't even know girls were "supposed" to play with baby dolls until I had a little sister. Up till that point, I had a Chewbacca action figure and a unicorn blanket that went everywhere with me.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Kids like to play different things, and it is typical (remember, I said "typical") that kids of one or another gender tend to group around certain toys/activities. But there is so much cross play I have seen with my preschoolers and own son: boys playing 'restaurant' in the little kitchen; girls happy to run cars down ramps and build wonderfully with blocks. Sometimes they use the same toys in different ways.

I'm of the 'emergent curriculum' philosophy, which means really observing what the kids (or my son) is playing with and *how* they use those things. I was leading a toddler group when many of the studies you are referencing (nature vs nurture, gender-neutral introduction of activities) came to the fore. What I would dare to suggest is that much of what kids enjoy is somewhat socially driven (esp. at school where kids want to play what their peers are playing and 'fit in'), so I believe that it is our job to make home a very safe place for all sorts of play.

I think what a lot of the brouhaha in the 90s about gender neutral play is really about OFFERING those opportunities to play with all sorts of materials and being open, not just shutting kids down if they want to play something atypical for their gender. (do you remember "William's Doll" by Charlotte Zolotow, which got air time during the "Free to Be, You and Me" special? Gender-specific parent-directed choices were very common not too long ago. Still are!) Thus, it means treating each child as an individual and not just leading a girl to the housekeeping area or a boy to the sandbox, but watching where they *like* to play and supporting them in those activities. To me, it's more about being an in-tune, connected adult and less about defying/conforming to societal expectations.

Feminism, to me, is all about the opportunity to choose something different--- not that you HAVE to. (from a tired humanist.) :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yep, I was going to post pretty much exactly what Jo said.

Thanks, for the time saver!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Ugh, another simple minded, hot button FB visual :(
I bought my son a toy kitchen when he was two. I got it because he loved helping me in the kitchen and playing with it at school.
I also got him a baby doll and stroller when I was pregnant.
In both cases I had a hell of a time finding these items that weren't all pink and frilly, because I NEVER wanted him to think taking care of a home and child was "girly."
He loved and played with the kitchen a lot, but the baby? He lost interest in that pretty quickly ;)
Oh, and even though I never for one second encouraged any fighting or gun or military play? Well, guess what his favorite kind of play (and later, reading) ended up being? Yep, fighting, superhero and war stories, good guys and bad guys.
My girls played with guns, swords, cars and trains, and babies, makeup and Barbies, everything.
Honestly, you have a great head start at imprinting your kids before "media" and "society" get to them.
Limit their exposure to commercial television during their toddler/preschool years, encourage their natural interests and curiosity and they will SHINE.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I don't understand what your last sentence really means. I can't connect the facebook graphic with higher learning institutes.

I have a boy and a girl. They play with each other's toys all the time. My daughter loves both her play kitchen and her trucks. My son loves his baby doll and his blocks. I think it's stupid that we are still in this boy toy/girl toy mentality. However, my kids do tend to gravitate toward toys they favor. My son can play with blocks until I force him into bed at night, and my daughter will pretend to be a waitress and take our order ten times a day.

What annoys me is that it is really hard to find baby dolls that aren't girls. They are almost all cutesy, pink and purple dress wearing, curly haired girl babies. I want both of my kids to have boy dolls, because guess what...there are baby boys out there too!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Not sure how to answer your question because I am not sure how this applies to "higher learning institutes". I hate that fact that gender-neutral toys tend to be over looked and so many things are either for a boy or a girl rather than for kids. Legos, play dough, coloring bookds, books, kitchen sets, etc. should be for kids. I do get that some things will be primarly for one sex or the other but it's just toys. Why is it ok for my daughter to play with her cousins' trucks, beyblades (sp?) action figures, and toy weaponry but it is not ok for her male cousins to play with her doll house? Obviously, there are some things they will each enjoy more but still...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I just got back from Toys R Us where I bought all three of my kids (boy (7) boy (6) and girl 4)) Monster Trucks for stocking stuffers.

My daughter plays what they call "Truck Town" regularly with her brothers. She also likes to play with babies and her dollhouse and likes things that are pink. Our toy kitchen is not pink, and was gifted first to my eldest when he was 2. We don't have any barbies. and I'm not a fan of MOST of the "girl" toys out there, but we do have a few sets of the new legos - they are fine IMO - especially if you buy the little sets which have animals and vehicles for the girls to drive.

I think it's all about how you play with your kids, how your kids play, and keeping them using their imaginations.

We don't have a Wii - DS, or any other video games... the kid rarely ask to use our computer. I don't have an Ipad, although I'd like one... my boys don't fall into the sterotypical video game playing kids. But they like trucks. My middle son played with a baby until he was 3 when he gave it to his sister. Now he plays with her babies instead.

I'm not on board with buying only pink stuff - but am not opposed to having some. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think the important thing is to let kids be kids. My best friend teaches an afterschool program, and she says as soon as the costume box comes out one of the boys is wearing the bridal gown - every single time. Because they aren't allowed normally? My son loves wearing hair clips and jewelry because it's what my roommate does. I found him applying mascara to (to his cheeks...) the other day. He is little and copies what he sees. I let him. If he wants to wear girly things he can. He loves cars and little ponies and unicorns equally. So does his best friend, who is a girl. My brother and I played with dolls and cars, and both became very good at soccer because we were allowed. Just let your kids pick who they want to be. Society will crush all of that soon enough if you live in the wrong place.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

Every once in a while for very good behavior I let my daughter (6) choose 1 thing from the toy section. There are a few limits like price and noise making, but she can wander up and down and choose from "boy" and "girl" toys.

She loves the electronic toys and puzzles. The last time she chose a new coloring book and nearly colored every page. Heh. She loves her play kitchen and uses her barbies(gifts from family) as feather dusters. She's been playing with her baby doll more now, mimicking me when I take care of her new baby brother.



answers from Los Angeles on

my two girls like mostly girl toys but sometimes their only choice is boy toys and they have a great time playing with them. My brother just bought my daughter some mario kart knex for her birthday (a "boy" toy) and she is absolutely thrilled with them. I think it is perfectly fine for boys and girls to both play with "boy" and "girl" toys. I do not think it is 100% ok for a child to go 100% opposite gender. Not because I personally care. But in the real world I worry for the child. Parents want to teach their child to be his or her self but if other kids wont accept it then there is an issue. At this point there has not been a revolution into accepting this although I believe we are on our way. The truth of it all is that kids and people DO want to be accepted. When they don't it creates problems. All of the individuals who have gone on shooting sprees at schools did not feel accepted. I am not saying if your child is not accepted they will go on a murderous rampage but they will possibly be set up for such. I believe in diversity and that goes for what your child plays with whether you have it in your home or they play with it elsewhere.

On a side note my sis in law passed out monster trucks from the dollar store to all the kids at her son's bday party and everyone loved it. Especially the girls. At the same time I wonder if it would have been the same reaction if it was her daughter and all boys and girls got a princess. Not everyone is THERE yet.



answers from Syracuse on

The kitchen sets, I believe are marketed towards both boys and girls...just look on a toy flyer and there is almost always both a boy and girl playing with it...and the colors are neutral. I bought one for my boys, and it hardly gets used along with their playhouse/garden and stuffed animals. They prefer their trucks and trains. I have a few friends who have daughters around the same age as my son's, I watch them occasionally. When these girls come over, all they do is play with the kitchen set, house and stuffed animals. When we go to their house, my boys seem a bit confused as what to do with all the barbies and dress up clothes...they're just not interested even if I encourage them to play with it.

I was recently at my son's preschool, the boys all surround the workbench station while the girls were all at the dress up play kitchen station. I don't think there's anything wrong at all with buying kids whatever toy they want to play with, but I do think a lot of kids do naturally gravitate towards the so called "boy" or "girl" toys. At least that's what I've observed.

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